Thursday, 18 August 2011

TO THE MANOR OSBORNE

© Copyright Laura Sandys MP via Flickr. Used with permission from her office.
George Osborne visited the Turner Contemporary in Margate yesterday and stopped for a photo in front of the Daniel Buren installation. Standing with Gallery director Victoria Pomeroy (on the left) and Thanet South MP Laura Sandys (on the right), the Chancellor of the Exchequer's visit was planned to coincide with a government announcement that the Pfizer site at Sandwich, Discovery Park, is one of the 11 locations which have been chosen as an Enterprise Zone.

An Enterprise Zone, according to Google Dictionary, is described as "an impoverished area in which incentives such as tax concessions are offered to encourage investment and provide jobs for residents." In light of Pfizer's decision to close its factory and lay off 2,400 workers earlier this year, with many more indirect workers due to lose their jobs as a result of its closure, it would be foolish to dismiss this news as anything other than promising, whatever your political stance on tax breaks.

Considering the devastating impact Pfizer's loss will have on East Kent as a whole if action is not taken, I feel this news is agreeable enough to be welcomed, especially if it does indeed provide work for local residents and boosts the local economy. As always, however, there are some who may have reservations, but all in all, I feel we should see the Chancellor's announcement as a positive one.

Later, after his visit to the Turner gallery, Osborne travelled to Sandwich and was filmed by a BBC News crew outside Pfizer's Discovery Park. He told them:

"I know how bleak things seemed a few months ago and how difficult things have been for the workforce here and for the local community. I hope we can begin to see the rays of a brighter future."

Elsewhere, on YourThanet, Osborne further explained:

"This is a unique Enterprise Zone because unlike the others it already has state-of-the-art facilities. Job creation isn't going to happen overnight - we'll start with hundreds of jobs and build up to that 2,000 plus figure. There are a lot of workers at Pfizer who are already looking at starting up businesses and we hope to attract others from across the country. We believe this site will become world-class."

I don't know about you, but I'm glad we're seeing some decisive action being taken to try and drag the East Kent region out of the mire, rather than simply being forgotten about. Mind you, I am mindful of the wider issues and concerns about enterprise zones, so I'd like to write more about them tomorrow, so please visit back and I'll go into a bit more detail. By and large, however, I think this news gets a thumbs-up from me. Let's face it, anything's better than nothing, isn't it?

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